In "By the Waters of Babylon", modern civilization as we know it has been destroyed. What message does the story send about technology and humanity?
Is Benet optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
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The message of this story is that human beings must be careful so they do not destroy themselves through use of their technology. It is warning us that we have within us the savagery that could lead us to destroy our entire civilization.
Because it sends us this message, you could certainly argue it is pessimistic. After all, it predicts a time when our civilization has been destroyed to the point where some people are eating grubs and being able to spin wool is a sign of being advanced.
On the other hand, you can say it's optimistic because the main character is looking ahead. He ends the story saying "we must build again." This can be seen as a testament to the human spirit -- even if we fall, we will get back up again.
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